BMP-1

The BMP-1 is a Soviet amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle. This one was on display in the Cold War Exhibition at RAF Cosford.

The BMP-1 was the first mass-produced infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) of the Soviet Union. The Russian BMP-1 went into production in the early 1960’s and marked an important departure from previous armoured personnel carriers. Not just an infantry carrier, it provided a measure of combat capability with the vehicle. Its high mobility, effective anti-tank weapons combined with its armoured protection made it a significant addition to Soviet battlefield forces.

Armament for the time was formidable with a 73mm low-pressure gun, co-axial machine gun and launcher rail for the “Sagger” anti-tank guided weapon with five missiles provided. In addition the infantry section passengers could contribute with their own weapons from within the vehicle. These could typically include a further two machine guns, six assault rifles and a surface to air ‘Grail’ missile.

In addition the vehicle is fully amphibious, being propelled by its tracks. There is also a fully operational NBC system. It is easy to visualise the concern that must have greeted the introduction of this vehicle, with the prospect of large numbers of them combined with the latest Soviet tanks poised to overrun the West.

As is usually the case however, the vehicle had a number of faults and at least initially were only deployed with front line units, the follow up units having to make do with less advanced vehicles.

There was an ex-Iraqi model on display at Duxford.

Handley Page Hastings

The Handley Page HP.67 Hastings was a British troop-carrier and freight transport aircraft designed and manufactured by aviation company Handley Page for the Royal Air Force. Upon its introduction to service during September 1948, the Hastings was the largest transport plane ever designed for the service.

This is TG511 (T5) on display in the National Cold War Exhibition at the RAF Museum Cosford.

Development of the Hastings had been initiated during the Second World War in response to Air Staff Specification C.3/44, which sought a new large four-engined transport aircraft for the RAF.

The type was rushed into service so that it could participate in the Berlin Airlift.

Here you can see the engines, even if this BMP-1 gets in the way…

Another view of the Hastings with the Dakota in the background.

Hastings continued to be heavily used by RAF up until the late 1960s, the fleet being withdrawn in its entirety during 1977. The type was succeeded by various turboprop-powered designs, including the Bristol Britannia and the American-built Lockheed Hercules.

Cold Flames of War

As well as the Brown Water Navy announcement in Battlefront’s Flames of War State of the Union, they announced a new period based on the Cold War.

October sees us diving into a brand new period as we release Fulda Gap. The period of the modern war when tensions between NATO and the Warsaw Pact were running high is a wonderful theatre to develop as the forces arrayed on both sides boast some of the coolest-looking equipment in history. And with the advances in technology, we are looking forward to seeing forces of M1-Abrams covered by A10-Thunderbolts pitting their might against the swathes of T-72s and BMP-mounted infantry. We plan for this to be a complete period with books covering nations and plastic sets for all the main vehicles of every nation. October is just the start and 2016 will have more books and additional miniatures.

Though there is very little information in the announcement, there is a mention of T72s and BMP-1s for the Warsaw Pact forces. So what of the NATO side? It appears that the US Army will be done first, with M1-Abrams and A-10 Thunderbolts, but I am looking forward to seeing the models for the BAOR.

British Chieftain Tanks

It would make for a good game to have Chieftains, FV432s and Harriers in action against T80s and the odd Hind D Attack Helicopter.

As the announcement mentions the M1-Abrams, which entered service in 1980, we can assume that the period for the games will be the 1980s, the height of the Cold War. If Battlefront do decide to go with some BAOR British forces, we may also see the Challenger I which entered service in 1983.

As well as fighting across Europe, another possibility will be to recreate the original Red Dawn film and have Soviet forces fighting on US soil.

I might also look at doing some alternative history British Civil War games set in the same time period, this setting was described in an article I had published in Wargames Illustrated in the 1990s.

I also wonder what other nations we will see in 2016, the French possibly?